Cable service fails on big TV night
An unspecified number of Oahu residents temporarily lost cable service last night during one of prime-time television's biggest nights of the year. Some residents missed a portion of the season finales of Fox's "American Idol" and ABC's "Lost."
Oceanic Cable officials refused to comment on the length or extent of the interruption but acknowledged that their customer service line was backlogged with complaints. Oceanic's hot line confirmed a temporary service lapse in Wahiawa. The Star-Bulletin also received reports of service interruption in East Oahu.
Disaster center will be replaced
The Disaster Recovery Center at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall will close at 7 p.m. tomorrow, but another one will open next week in Lihue. The recovery center, staffed by federal, state and county officials and volunteers, has been helping those hurt by recent heavy rain. The U.S. Small Business Administration will open an Outreach Center on Tuesday at 4280 Rice St. to assist with SBA loans. Victims on Oahu and Kauai can still call toll-free 800-621-FEMA (3362) to register or get help.
State releases $10M for county roads
A bill that fixes a technicality that prevented $10 million in state highway funds from being used on county roads was signed yesterday by Gov. Linda Lingle.
Last year, the Legislature approved $4 million for the city and $2 million for each of the three neighbor island counties.
But the governor said last year that she could not release the money because state law did not allow state highway funds to be spent for county road projects.
The measure, which took effect upon the governor's signature, now authorizes that state highway funds can be used to "pay the costs of construction, maintenance and repair of county roads."
Keck Observatory gets $10M for new scope
WAIMEA, Hawaii » The W.M. Keck Observatory will receive $10 million in private and federal funds to build a new telescope to see distant galaxies formed when the universe was just emerging from infancy.
The instrument, known as MOSFIRE, will be funded by $5 million from the National Science Foundation over the next four years, said Keck Director Fred Chaffee.
That will be matched by $5 million from Gordon and Betty Moore, Chaffee said. Gordon Moore is the founder and chief executive of computer chip maker Intel.
Chaffee praised the Moores for providing the grant when "public funding for basic research is far less than it needs to be to keep us competitive."
MOSFIRE stands for Multi-Object Spectrograph for InfraRed Exploration.
"Multi-object" means the instrument will study 40 galaxies simultaneously. That will enable it to make "surveys" of whole areas of the sky, something that is so time-consuming with current instruments that it essentially cannot be done.
MOSFIRE will let observers see the first generation of galaxies created shortly after the birth of the universe 13.7 billion years ago.
» American Savings Bank donated $5,000 to Hawaii 3Rs to renovate the courtyard at Pearl City High School in honor of the bank's new branch opening in the Pearl City Wal-Mart. Bank employees are also providing volunteer labor. Hawaii 3Rs is a nonprofit organization that relies on volunteers and community contributions to renovate schools in the state.
» Hawaiian Electric Co. gave $10,000 to the Honolulu Community Action program to help with its Low-Income Home Energy Assistance and Weatherization Assistance programs on Oahu.
» A total of $37,500 in grants was received by the Waikiki Health Center to provide breast health services to low-income, uninsured and/or homeless women. The grant came from the Hawaii Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, $20,000; Safeway Foundation, $10,000; and Hawaii Women's Legal Foundation, $7,500.
Other recent grants will go toward the center's outreach program serving frail seniors, and for general operations. The Sophie Russell Testamentary Trust awarded $20,000 toward the health center's Friendly Neighbors program, which recruits and trains volunteers to provide assistance and social support to isolated, frail elderly residents of Waikiki to help them improve their quality of life and avoid premature institutionalization.
Retina Institute of Hawaii gave $5,000 in support of the center's clinics and outreach programs.
"Taking Notice" also runs on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Police, Fire, Courts
Man is arrested in threat with knife
Police arrested a 43-year-old man who allegedly threatened a couple with a knife early Tuesday.
Police said the man was arguing with the couple on Haaa Street in Waipahu at about 7:30 a.m. when he pulled out a knife and threatened to stab them.
Police arrested the man for investigation of two counts of first-degree terroristic threatening.
Police seek suspect in Kona truck theft
Big Island police want help finding a man suspected of stealing a truck from a Kona business and damaging numerous other vehicles.
Police said that between noon and 4 p.m. April 8, Kawika Williamson, 21, of Captain Cook stole a truck from Kona Lua Inc. and caused damage estimated at $20,000 to the vehicle.
Police said Williamson then tried to steal a truck owned by RSI Roofing and damaged several other vehicles belonging to various businesses.
Anyone with information can call the police non-emergency number at 935-3311 or CrimeStoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona.